Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ever wonder why there is "Dark" and "White" meat?

Dark -vs- White Meat

So you're sitting at the table on Thanksgiving Day and a one of life's questions arises. White Meat or Dark Meat? What is the difference? What makes dark meat dark and white meat white? Look no further, I have your answer!

Muscles use a protein called Myoglobin to store oxygen when that muscle is used. The more that muscle is used, the higher the concentration of Myoglobin. The higher the concentration means darker the color. Since Chickens and Turkeys fly very little, if at all, the breast and part of the wing has a low concentration of Myoglobin. However, they do a lot of walking and running around which would give the legs and thighs a high concentration of Myoglobin. This also explains why ducks are all "dark"meat. They actually use the breast and wings to fly.

Other Poultry facts:
  • The muscle tissue of poultry is similar to mammals except in the way it stores fat. Poultry doesn't have "marbling", it stores fat in it's skin, abdominal cavity, and the fat pad near it's tail.
  • Poultry fat is softer and has a lower melting point than other animal fats.
  • A flightless bird, such as an Ostrich or Emu, is called a "Ratite".
  • To get a bird to cook evenly, truss it. Trussing is where you tie the legs together and the wings are tucked neatly behind the bird. This keeps the bird's legs and wings from overcooking.
  • Tryptophan is the chemical in turkey that makes you sleepy.
I hope this blog post satisfies your curiosity if you've ever asked the question, Dark or White?

I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful holiday! 
Happy Thanksgiving!

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